Will probe Modi, Anil Ambani on Rafale: Rahul

Investigate Vadra, but probe PM too on corruption, says Congress president; he accuses BJP leader of creating ‘two Indias’

Updated - March 14, 2019 07:51 am IST

Published - March 14, 2019 12:55 am IST - CHENNAI/NAGERCOIL

Chennai: Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressing students at Stella Maris Women's College, in Chennai on Wednesday.

Chennai: Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressing students at Stella Maris Women's College, in Chennai on Wednesday.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he was confident of the Congress-led alliance coming back to power in 2019, adding that when that happens, an investigation will be launched into the Rafale deal and action taken against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and industrialist Anil Ambani following the probe. “They will go to jail,” he claimed.

Mr. Gandhi said that the question of corruption [in the Rafale deal] was crystal clear. He reiterated his allegation that the PM and Mr. Ambani had “stolen ₹30,000 crore from the pilots of the IAF, from the pockets of the pilots who bombed Pakistan (at Balakot)”.

When asked if the Congress would revisit the Rafale deal if and when it came to power, as the first aircraft was expected to be delivered in September 2019, he said, “Are we going to cancel the contract? Are we not going to cancel the contract (when we come to power)? That is a technical decision that has nothing to do with us right now. We don’t have that information.”

‘Unlimited proof’

Interacting with students at the Stella Maris College in Chennai earlier in the day, Mr. Gandhi, referring to the Rafale deal, said, “The Prime Minister of the country himself has his name in government documents, which are saying he is directly responsible for negotiating the Rafale deal in parallel.”

When a student from the college mentioned Mr. Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra’s name when listing out “corrupt businessmen”, the Congress leader said, “Investigate everyone. Investigate Mr. Vadra, I am the first person to say it. But also investigate the PM and be absolutely crystal clear that Mr. Modi for one minute hasn’t opened his mouth on Rafale. The proof is unlimited.”

Mr. Gandhi also accused the Modi government of mishandling the Kashmir issue. He claimed that between 2004 and 2014, the Congress government had engaged with the people of Kashmir and brought down terrorism in the State.

“It is Narendra Modi’s policies that are setting fire to Jammu & Kashmir. It is his policies that are allowing Pakistan to carry out terrorist acts. The people of India have to be brought to our side. They are our assets. Mr. Modi’s policies push the people of Kashmir away. You cannot fight terrorism with one-off gestures,” Mr. Gandhi said.

Later, he kicked off the UPA’s poll campaign in Tamil Nadu at Nagercoil, accusing Mr. Modi of being a liar and having created “two Indias” – one for the super rich and another for jobless youth battling poverty and farmers in deep distress due to anti-farmer policies.

The Congress president said the Modi-led government’s policies of demonetisation and GST had collectively wiped out lakhs of tiny, small and medium industries across the country and affected several crore workers employed in these units.

Recalling his visit to Kanniyakumari district after Cyclone Ockhi devastated the district and claimed the lives of 162 fishermen involved in deep sea fishing in 2017, Mr. Gandhi promised that his party, if voted to power, would create a separate ministry for fisheries at the Centre to alleviate the problems facing fishermen across the country.

He also promised 33% reservation for women in Central government jobs, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, introduction of Goods and Services Tax with simple and minimum tax, making Tamil Nadu the “world’s manufacturing hub” by optimally tapping its potential, and a guaranteed minimum income programme for every Indian citizen, similar to the MNREGP.

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